Monday, July 29, 2013

An A-Maize-ing Margarita!

Imbibe Magazine has become one of my favorite publications. There isn't an issue that doesn't come jam-packed with new cocktails, spirits, mixers and such that are available in stores (not always in Pennsylvania, but I travel!) and all variety of cocktails, shrubs, tinctures, bitters and syrups to make right at home. Sometimes I whip up a batch of whatever sounds really interesting. Like Corn Milk Syrup.

The last issue (July/August 2013) contained a recipe for Corn Milk Syrup from Pouring Ribbons in sounded like summer in a jar! This being prime fresh corn season (and having a penchant for sweet, fresh corn on the cob from the get-go), the idea intrigued me. That and the fact that Frederick Arnold, one of the creative bartending minds at TenderBar + Kitchen in Lawrenceville is currently mixing up an old Prohibition era cocktail called a Cornpopper. Corn just seems to be happening on the summer cocktail scene! 

Frederick Arnold and the Cornpopper with a festive 4th of July garnish!

That issue arrived in my mailbox before the first local ears of corn were even ready locally, so a few ears of Florida fresh from my local Giant Eagle had to do. Once the uncooked kernels were cut from the cobs, liquified in the blender, painstakingly squeeeeeeeezed through cheesecloth into a bowl, poured carefully into a plastic jug and sugar was added and stirred until completely dissolved, I ended up with a very corn-y and fresh simple syrup. Delicious. Needless to say there was some corn milk syrup and bourbon experimentation going on that night!

A few weeks went by, Soergel's, Kaelins' and Shenots now had their very own sweet, field fresh corn....definitely Corn Milk Syrup time again! The result? An even sweeter and corn-ier batch than the first. That being said, it was back to the Corn Milk Syrup lab for more mad scientist-like mixing, stirring and shaking.

Truthfully, I'd been mulling over the possibilities of the beautiful sun-yellow liquid since making it the first time. Corn and lime go together so well...Mexican flavors contain lots of corn and about tequila in a corn and lime cocktail? MARGARITAS! Thus the idea for a Maize (Spanish for corn!) Margarita on the rocks was born. 

It's a simple cocktail with a creamy yellow color and silky texture that makes a very nice surprise for your picnic and party guests this summer. But make these quick before our sweet corn season disappears for another year. Make hay...and Maize Margaritas...while the sun shines!

 Maize Margaritas

  • 2 ounces tequila, gold
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces corn milk syrup (see recipe below)

  • lime, zested and juiced, set zest aside on small plate
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

In a shaker, mix the tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and corn milk. Add ice to 3/4 of the way up the tin. Cap, shake until the tin is frosted and strain into a Lime Salt rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wheel or strip of lime peel and serve.

Corn Milk Syrup: 5 ears corn, sugar.  

Cut the kernels off the cobs and put into a blender. Process until the corn is completely liquified. Pour into a large bowl lined with a single layer of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and edges of the cheesecloth keeping all the corn inside and twist being sure the liquid falls into the bowl. Continue twisting and squeezing until ALL the liquid is expelled from the solids. Discard the solids (or use for soup!). Measure the liquid corn then measure an equal amount of granulated sugar. Mix the sugar into the liquid corn and stir until dissolved. There's your Corn Milk Syrup!

Lime Salt: On a small plate, stir together the salt and lime zest. Add more salt if you want the mixture saltier instead of lime-ier. I dipped the rim of my glass into corn milk before salting the rim. 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Low Country Grilled Shrimp, Andouille & Veggies with Old Bay Beer Butter

Feelin' beachy? Me too! So much so that I've been craving a good ol' shrimp boil...something to help assuage the longing for sand, sun and seafood until we hit Ocean City next month. This one easily qualifies under my "Quickie" category because there's almost no prep and it cooks in minutes. Nope, not in a steamer as is traditional for a boil, but on the grill. And it's done in a flash!

Usually we haul out the propane-fueled turkey fryer/steamer to do a boil...and that's just perfect with a big crowd. With just the two of us for dinner on Sunday, that method didn't make any sense at all. Out came the grill!

To get the same Maryland-style flavors we were craving, Old Bay beer butter was basted onto heaps of shrimp, small red potatoes, onions, Andouille sausages and corn right on the grill.  Yes, there were some flare ups, but that just helped to give a desirable blackened quality to the andouille and shrimp and made the corn almost caramel-y. 

The result? It seemed just like being oceanfront at the beach with the same hoppy, spicy deliciousness of a boil, combined with the smoky flavors only a grill can produce.  We were happy campers!

Even though the cries of seagulls were missing, I swear I caught just the faintest whiff of salt air. Not only that, I think our grilled "boil" may have been even better than the original! Now bring on Ocean City and crabs....I'm READY!

 Low Country Grilled Shrimp, Andouille & Veggies
with Old Bay Beer Butter

 Serves 2 - with plenty of leftovers

  • 1 pound shrimp, jumbo, raw, peeled, tails on - threaded onto metal skewers (or wooden skewers that have soaked in water (or beer) for at least an hour)
  • 1 pound sausage, andouille if you can find it - kielbasa is good, too!
  • 1 pound red potatoes, small ones, cut in half - cooked in the microwave for a few minutes until almost done, but not quite
  • 1 large vidalia onion, peeled, cut into eigths - leave stem end intact so the layers don't seperate
  • 4 ears of corn, husked, silk removed

  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 cup beer, gluten-free beer to make this GF - your favorite regular beer if gluten isn't an issue

Baste: In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, beer and Old Bay. Set aside.

Heat up your grill - keep it low because the butter baste is going to flare up...even with the heat low. It's okay because that smoky, blackened flavor intensifies the sweetness of the corn and the veggies...YUM! Also, be SURE to use a long-handled basting brush and work quickly to avoid the flames. No burns or catching on fire, please!


Once the grill is ready, pile on the corn, potatoes, onions, sausage and last, the shrimp. Baste liberally with the Old Bay Beer Butter. This will flare up. Be very careful,! As each item is done, remove to a platter. The shrimp won't take long at all. When everything is done, it's dinner time! All you need is some good crusty bread and a bottle of your favorite beer or wine. So easy! So good!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mango Hibiscus Daiquiris To Celebrate National Daiquiri Day!

Happy National Daiquiri Day, friends! Funny how I just happen to have a batch of my new fave twist on a daiquiri all ready to go...thanks to the Jimmy Buffet concert last night. Yes, it surprises me, too, that there are leftovers. Who knew?!

One of the good things about making cocktails by the batch (one thing among MANY), is that nobody has to wait while one custom cocktail at a time is crafted. One big lime juicing session, some rum and (in this case) hibiscus simple syrup and it's party time! This would be wonderful served either in a pitcher or a punch bowl so the bartender can relax and enjoy the festivities.

Not gonna make you wait any longer to get's the recipe for Mango Hibiscus Daiquiris for one AND by the batch. Cheers....oh, and fins up!

Mango Hibiscus Daiquiris - for 1

  • 3 fluid ounces Parrot Bay Mango rum - ONLY use Parrot isn't too sweet. Trust me on this one, the others DO NOT work at all (or you can do your own mango/rum infusion which is very good and fresh, but when you want it NOW, Parrot Bay is faster!)
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice - do NOT use that bottled crap
  • 1/2 ounce hibiscus simple syrup, homemade (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 ounce Canton Ginger Liqueur

Put everything into a cocktail shaker.  Cap and shake vigorously until the shaker frosts up.

Pour over ice into a double old fashioned glass, garnish with a lime wheel and serve! You could even do a cute little umbrella...have fun with it!

Mango Hibiscus Daiquiris - by the pitcher

  • 3 cups Parrot Bay Mango rum - ONLY use Parrot isn't too sweet. Trust me on this one, the others DO NOT work at all (or you can do your own mango/rum infusion which is very good and fresh, but when you want it NOW, Parrot Bay is faster!)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice - do NOT use that bottled crap
  • 1/2 cup hibiscus simple syrup, homemade (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup Canton Ginger Liqueur

Put everything into a large pitcher, stir. 

Pour into a double old fashioned glass with lots of ice, garnish with a lime wheel and serve! You could even do a cute little umbrella...have fun with it!

Hibiscus Simple Syrup: Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Once it comes to a boil, add a BIG handful of dried hibiscus flowers (I get them at Reyna's in the Strip District in the back in a bulk bin) and remove from the heat. Let the solution cool completely and strain into a small glass or plastic bottle. Store in the fridge. Keeps for several weeks. Try using it in other beverages like lemonade or iced tea. YUM! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Peach Jalapeno Smoked Rack of Pork

In my neverending quest to learn the fine art/craft of smoking pretty much on my own (with some precious tips from Greg Blanton down in the fine state of Georgia), Mark and I set out to experiment with the peach chips recently bought at Cabela's. The orange chicken we smoked last weekend was a rousing success...would the peach pork work as well? Not going to keep you in suspense here, the peachy pork was just, well, peachy! 

When it comes to the chips, I really don't think the peach chips added anything to the flavor that apple or cherry or pecan wouldn't contribute. In teaching ourselves, one of the things we're learning is that the type of wood doesn't necessarily impart the flavor of what the tree produces. Peach doesn't impart a peach flavor, apple doesn't lend a true apple-y essence to the protein on the smoker. 

Wood simply (in my opinion) imparts a smokey flavor - some woods produce a stronger smoke flavor (mesquite/hickory) and some milder and sweeter (apple/pecan). It is the marinade and/or rub and/or glaze that truly determines any flavor that isn't smoke.

This recipe really layers the flavors. The first layer was a good garlic/jalapeno rub, the second a tenderizing peach, garlic and vinegar marinade, the third was the smoke of peach wood and fourth was a peach and jalapeno echo of a rich, sweet finishing glaze. 

To help get the flavors ALL through the roast, I pierced the pork all over with a small sharp knife to insure the marinade got into every nook and cranny and then let it laze for a few hours...kind of like a meat hot tub only cool and comfy. Nothing like pampering your pork before it gets all hot and bothered on the smoker! (Did I just say that?!)

A few pitted, fresh peach halves, onions, jalapenos and garlic were scattered around the roast for about an hour to impart some smokey goodness to them before turning them into a chunky sauce that's kind of a cross between a spicy chutney and a good peach salsa. With the addition of a little vinegar, honey and mustard to accent the sweet heat aspect of the dish even more, I call it Peach Jalapeno Chut-Salsa.

A final step of glazing the roast during the last half hour turned it into a gleaming beauty of a hunk of meat just waiting for its close up! Was this labor intensive? Yes. Was it worth it? YES! Even though it is more time consuming than most Sunday dinners, everything was done in steps throughout the day so it really wasn't bad at all time-wise.

Tender, juicy and smoky

The schedule went something like this: the meat went into the marinade and the chips started soaking early. They did their thing while we brunched and watched CBS Sunday Morning. (It's a Sunday ritual at our house.)

When the show was over, Mark got the smoker going while I prepped the peaches and veggies. The pork went on the smoker by 11:30 a.m. and everything was done by 4:30 p.m. 

In between, laundry, cleaning, making the rub and peach glaze, some shopping, putting together the salsa/chutney, a little yardwork and some neighborhood socializing, it all made for a relaxing, yet productive, day. In fact, one might just call it one peach of a day!

Peachy Jalapeno Smoked Rack of Pork 
with Peach Chut-salsa

  • 2 pounds pork roast, a 4-rib rack of pork

  • 1 1/2 jalapenos, leave seeds & ribs in for lots of heat, remove them for less heat - cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 7 large garlic cloves, paper skins removed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 cups peach nectar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 peach, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 peaches, cut in half, stones removed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 jalapenos, whole
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole, left in skins
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard

Using a small, sharp knife, deeply pierce roast on all sides. Massage the rub into all the cuts, using all the rub, all over. When it is thoroughly covered, carefully put the roast into the ziptop bag that contains the prepared marinade. Refrigerate for 3 hours, remove from fridge and let it marinate another hour at room temp. 

Prepare smoker as you normally would using peach wood - if you can find it. I really don't think it makes a difference. Feel free to use apple, hickory or your own favorite variety. 

Once the smoker is ready to roll, put the roast on bone side down. Smoke the roast for about 2 hours before putting the peaches and veggies on. Let those smoke for about an hour, remove and let the roast continue to smoke for another 1-2 hours. 

The length of time it takes to smoke depends on your smoker. You know your smoker best, so use your own best educated smoking judgment for when it will be done to your own taste.

Glaze about 1/2 an hour before removing from smoker. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

Rub: Put the 7 garlic cloves, kosher salt & granulated onion into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

Marinade: In a large ziptop bag, add peach nectar, 1/4 c. cider vinegar, 1 T granulated onion and 1 T granulated garlic. Set aside.

Glaze: Add the pitted peach WITH the skin on, 2 T mustard, 1 T vinegar, 1/4 C honey and Kosher salt to the food processor. Process until pureed. Add additional honey to desired consistency.

Chut-salsa: Finely dice the smoked peaches and veggies and add to a medium bowl. Add 2 T honey, 2 T red wine vinegar, 1 T Kosher salt and 1 T stoneground mustard. Mix well and serve as a condiment atop slices of pork.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Double Orange Smoked Chicken Thighs

Some travelers buy souvenir backscratchers or ashtrays wherever they go, for Mark and I we're always on the lookout for something new to bring to the menu back at home. 

Summer trips to Maryland? We score precious pound containers of fat lump crabmeat or sweet, can't-be-beat Silver Queen corn and always a melon or two. 

Michigan in the spring means (also fat) stalks of gorgeous green asparagus.  And I wish we could get up to Traverse City for cherry season!

Ohio? Goodies brought back from Westside Market in Cleveland, of course. How can you not lust after smoked and cured meats and sausages piled high in gleaming cases at the butcher stands, farm fresh cheeses and butters at the family-owned dairy cases and piled-high produce stands that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Last weekend we traveled to Oglebay Resort in West Virginia for the wedding of dear friends. What's nearby, but a huge Cabela's store that has one damned fine grilling and smoking section filled with not just grills and smokers, but grill baskets, grill woks, thermometers of all ilk...rows of sauces, marinades and rubs for fish, meats, poultry and veggies and spices to make any variety of jerky you can imagine. What drew us in, however, was the selection of wood chips and chunks for smoking.

Sure there was the typical mesquite and hickory, but, oh my, the apple and cherry and pecan and alderwood, peach and orange and even smoker chips made from Jack Daniels whiskey barrels! There were bags of chips and chunks, pellets and dust and logs in 2 pounds to 20 pounds packages. 

It was hard to walk out without a bag of everything they had, but we settled on 2 bags each of peach and orange chips. I'm still regretting not picking up a couple bags of the Jack Daniels! (My trip to Michigan at the end of the month will cure that with a stop at the store in Dundee!)

Our Sunday drive home included much discussion on what to smoke for dinner and with what new flavor.
Chicken thighs smoked over orange wood was the hands-down winner.

Once we got home, I put together a marinade of orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, shallots, Grade B maple syrup, garlic, balsamic vinegar and chipotle chile powder to hit all the sweet, savory, tart, spicy, zippy and fruity notes we could imagine. 

To really gild the lily, I whipped up with a glaze of orange marmalade, balsamic vinegar, a touch of chipotle chile powder and granulated garlic to baste the thighs during the last half hour or so of smoking. The double (triple?) whammy of orange smoke and fresh orange in both the marinade and glaze scored raves from us both. Those thighs were heavenly!

Already we're planning what to make for the first time with peach wood. Right now...pending any possible whim...a peachy smoked rack of pork is the frontrunner.  We're even going to smoke peach halves alongside. I can almost catch the aroma on the breezes now....ahhhhh.

I sure am glad we're not into souvenir backscratchers - smoked meats are far tastier. Then again, one of those wooden backscratchers might add quite an interesting new flavor for the smoker! (kidding)

Double Orange Smoked Chicken Thighs

  •  8 chicken thighs without skin

  • 2 oranges, grated zest of one, juice of both (approximately 1/2 cup juice total), reserve unzested orange halves after juicing to toss on top of the coals for even MORE orange-iness
  • 1/2 large shallot, finely minced (appox. 1/4 c.)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, Grade B (it has much more flavor than A)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, chipotle variety - Penzey's has it for sure, but you can find it many places

  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, chipotle again!

Marinade: In a large zip top plastic bag, mix the orange juice, zest, maple syrup, shallot, salt, pepper and chipotle chili power well. Gently add the thighs, squeeze out all the air and zip tightly. Distribute the marinade around the chicken and refrigerate until about 1/2 an hour before putting onto the smoker. You can marinate these as little as 2-3 hours or as long as overnight.

Glaze: Mix the marmalade, balsamic vinegar, chipotle chili powder and granulated garlic well. Set aside until ready to glaze at the end of smoking.

Prepare smoker as you normally would using orange wood - if you can find it. If not, feel free to use apple or another variety. If you don't smoke, don't worry! Just grill them! Once the smoker - or grill - is ready to roll, place the thighs on the grates. About half an hour before the thighs are done, glaze the first side, let them go for 15 minutes, turn and glaze the other side. Finish smoking until tender and cooked all the way through.

Remove from smoker (or grill) and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Red Plum Blueberry Streusel Cutie Pies

Have you seen the recent spate of jar pies on recipe sites around the internet lately? Not only the internet features these adorable little individual desserts, Meat & Potatoes in downtown Pittsburgh always has at least one on their daily menu. They are SO easy to make and with it just being the two of us at home now, individual pies make much more sense that a big one. I'm tired of throwing out what we can't eat!

Our 4th of July picnic-for-two seemed just the right time to whip up a batch of these little cutie pies (yes, pun intended). I had a red, white and blue dessert in mind AND just happened to have blueberries and red plums on hand to suit the color theme of the day. Because gluten-free pie dough is such a pain to work with - although I could have just crumbled it and layered it into the bottoms of the jars and blind baked them first - I decided to do a streusel topping for the white section of the patriotic colors.

Each jar contained a layer of big, juicy blueberries, a layer of jewel-toned sliced red plums and a topping of buttery cinnamon-y oatmeal streusel crunchy goodness. They were popped into the oven on a rimmed cookie sheet to corral the jars for ease in getting them into and out of the oven...and to catch any bubble-overs that might mess the oven otherwise. The technique worked beautifully!

Although I lost my distinct definition of red and blue layers - they kind of melded into blue only, the results were just what I'd hoped. The piled-high fruit that went into the oven cooked down leaving space at the top of the jar for a good scoop of ice cream. Jar pies ala mode! Perfect.

Since I'd made four pies for the two of us, I simply screwed the tops and lids onto the cooled extras to store in the fridge for the next night (or maybe a midnight craving). I can't wait to experiment some more. I'm thinking individual cheesecakes or pumpkin pies or even going the savory route with chicken or turkey pot pies or shepherds pies. And wouldn't one of the savory pies travel to work for lunch with ease? Screw on lids are ideal for this!

Any short, squat, small Mason-type or Ball-type canning jar will work. Be sure to check each jar for cracks or chips first to prevent breakage in the oven. Hmmm...I just realized these make for an automatic portion control, too...well, unless more than one can't be resisted. Not that I'd know anything about that. Really!

Red Plum and Blueberry Streusel Cutie Pies

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3 plums, red or purple, stones removed & sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats, gluten-free to make these GF, regular oats if gluten isn't an issue
  • 1/3 cup flour, again, gluten-free to make these GF, regular all-purpose flour if gluten isn't an issue
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In 4 clean, short, wide Mason or Ball-type canning jars, layer 1/2 cup of blueberries, then 1/4 of the plum slices and press down gently, but firmly. Sprinkle each fruit filled jar with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Set aside.


To make streusel: In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the brown sugar, oats, flour, butter and cinnamon together until all is incorporated and crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel evenly on the tops of the fruit filled jars.

Place the jars on a rimmed cookie sheet to catch any spills and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

To serve, top with scoops of ice cream right in the jar!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dilled & Lemoned Fingerling Potato Salad

Summers demand salads that are a) Simple. b) Scrumptious. c) All of the above. We all know the correct answer is C because nobody wants to swelter and sweat in the kitchen when it's beautiful outside.

This one is quick because you don't have to peel fingerling potatoes...the skins are so tender...and you don't have to cook the potatoes very long either because fingerlings are so small. I used Golden Fingerlings, cooked them whole and just sliced them in half lengthwise to allow them to absorb the dressing easily.

This isn't just easy, it's light, too. Yes there's mayo in the dressing, but just a little as all the flavor comes from lemon zest, lemon juice and a healthy handful of fresh dill...and just a smidge of whole grain mustard, too, for zip.

The simple salad went quite nicely with a very simple summer meal of smoked ribeyes and corn on the cob. It would be just as happy with burgers, dogs or grilled chicken, too. What was it they used to say? K.I.S.S.? Keep It Simple Summer!

Dilled & Lemoned Fingerling Potato Salad

 Serves 4

  • 1 pound tiny fingerling potatoes, cooked until just tender, cooled, sliced in half lengthwise - do NOT peel
  • 3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and cut into pieces - an extra one cut into wedges if you want to garnish the salad
  • 3 green onions, sliced well into the green
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill fronds, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested first and then juiced

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, reserved from above
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard

Put potatoes, hardboiled eggs (not the extra one for garnish), onions, dill and lemon zest into a large bowl. Set aside.

Mix well the mayo, lemon juice, salt and mustard with a small whisk.

Pour dressing over the potato mixture and gently fold together well.

Chill until serving time. Wasn't that simple?!

NOTE: Feel free to substitute tiny red potatoes or mixed red, fingerling and blue potatoes...that would look pretty cool, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

German Apple Cake

Mieke's birthday was last weekend, so you KNOW I packed up some goodies - including a homemade, from-scratch, German Apple Cake - and headed north to Michigan for the celebration. What a weekend for a birthday and a party by the pool! Good food, good friends and grandkids always make for great times and memories. 

The cake? Right up front, this is NOT a gluten-free recipe. But. It is one that has been one of Mieke's favorite desserts forever...well, just about forever anyway...okay, since the early 70's. It is one of the moistest, most down-home delicious cakes you will ever have the pleasure to eat. This is another one of those recipes that comes chock full of Maryland memories and of Peg, the woman who baked it.

Peg was a kind, loving and gentle woman with an enormous heart and sense of humor. Over our Maryland years, Mark, Mieke and I spent many hours around her kitchen table sharing lots of stories, lots of laughs and cracking more than a few crabs together with both of our families. Peg was every bit as sweet as her cakes.

And what a cake this German Apple Cake is! With layers of moist, lightly orange-kissed cake, freshly sliced and tender apples, warmly spicy cinnamon sugar, this is one cake that's as good for breakfast as it is for dessert. Trust me, many breakfasts back in Maryland - and right here in Pittsburgh - were made of leftover German Apple Cake the next day!

This is an easy cake to make. The only tedious part is peeling, coring and slicing the apples. BUT, if you enlist the help of a few apple peelers/corers/slicers, it would definitely streamline the process. Many hands make light work for a German Apple Cake!

From Maryland to Michigan, somehow it seemed only fitting to make one of Peg's German Apple Cakes for Mieke's birthday...and to start making sweet German Apple memories in Michigan. And we did. Happy birthday, Mieke!

Peg's German Apple Cake

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons sugar

  • 4 cups apples, peeled, sliced
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.Grease and flour bundt or tube pan.  

First, mix cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of sugar together and set aside.

Mix cake ingredients for 4 minutes using mixer.  Pour a layer of batter, then a layer of apples - sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Alternate layers, ending with a layer of batter 2 more times.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

NOTE: When peaches are in season, try using slightly underripe peaches instead of apples...wonderful!